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Robert Morris trio honored with 2010 postseason honors from the Northeast Conference

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A total of 12 Colonials earn All-NEC recognition, including nine on 2010 All-NEC First Team

The Robert Morris University football team was honored with a trio of postseason awards from the Northeast Conference Friday, as senior running back Myles Russ (Boca Raton, Fla. / West Boca) was named the 2010 NEC Offensive Player of the Year, senior linebacker Alex DiMichele (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Sto-Rox) was tabbed the 2010 NEC Defensive Player of the Year and head coach Joe Walton collected the 2010 NEC Coach of the Year accolade.

Conducted by a vote of league head coaches, in addition to the honors for Russ, DiMichele and Walton, a total of 12 Colonials earned 2010 All-NEC honors, including nine on the first team and three on the second team.

Joining Russ and DiMichele on the 2010 All-NEC First Team are sophomore quarterback Jeff Sinclair (Natrona Heights, Pa. / Highlands), senior offensive lineman Corey Konycki (Hunlock Creek, Pa. / Wyoming Seminary), junior tight end Shadrae King (McKeesport, Pa. / McKeesport), redshirt senior safety Michael Landers (Springdale, Pa. / Springdale), senior linebacker Elias Navarro (Fort Lauderdale, Fla. / South Plantation), sophomore defensive lineman Nolan Nearhoof (Gibsonia, Pa. / Mars Area) and senior punter Nick Schirtzinger (Hurricane, W.Va. / Hurricane).

Earning a spot on the 2010 All-NEC Second Team are senior offensive lineman Carlos Andrade (Newark, N.J. / Westminster Academy), junior offensive lineman Logan Miles (Scottdale, Pa. / Southmoreland) and senior defensive back Rolf Bathold (Naples, Fla. / Lely).

The 12 All-NEC selections are the most for Robert Morris since 2000, when 13 Colonials were honored, a school record. It also marks the third time in school history RMU has placed at least nine players on the All-NEC First Team, joining the 1999 (9) and 2000 (10) squads.

Russ is the second Colonial to be named the NEC Offensive Player of the Year in the 17-year history of the program, joining former quarterback Tim Levcik (1998-2001), who took home the accolade in both 2000 and 2001. The 5'8", 170-pound senior has rushed for 1,246 yards so far this season, an average of 124.60 yards per game that ranks second in the NEC and sixth in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

A four-time NEC Offensive Player of the Week in 2010 and RMU's all-time leading rusher with a career total of 4,154 yards, Russ enters Saturday's NCAA Division I FCS playoff game at North Dakota State just 134 yards shy of moving into third place all-time in the history of the NEC. Russ, who has rushed for at least 100 yards in four straight games, is also RMU's all-time leader in career all-purpose yards (4,519) while ranking second in career 100-yard rushing games (17) and fourth in career rushing touchdowns (19).

DiMichele is at the heart of a Robert Morris defense that leads the NEC in scoring defense (18.3 ppg), rushing defense (99.9 yards per game) and total defense (295.7 ypg). The 6'2", 240-pound senior leads the Colonials in tackles in 2010 with 98 and is just two stops shy of recording his third straight 100-tackle campaign. Twice named NEC Defensive Player of the Week this season, DiMichele also owns six and-a-half tackles for loss, an interception, four pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery so far this season.

Just the third Colonial in school history to eclipse 300 career tackles, DiMichele enters Saturday's game against North Dakota State with 323 takedowns since the beginning of the 2008 campaign, which ranks second all-time at Robert Morris.

Walton takes home his fourth NEC Coach of the Year honor but his first since 1999. He was also honored with the award in both 1996 and 1997.

The architect of Robert Morris football, Walton is the only head coach in the 17-year history of the program and has led the Colonials to six NEC regular-season championships, a league high. He has posted an overall record of 103-69-1 (.598) during his tenure with RMU and picked up his 100th career collegiate victory earlier this season when Robert Morris earned a 17-16 win over Monmouth (10/9) at Joe Walton Stadium.

Russ and DiMichele each earn All-NEC accolades for the second time on their respective careers, joining King, Landers, Schirtzinger and Bathold as multiple time honorees. King and Bathold are also All-NEC selections for the second time, while the honors for Landers and Schirtzinger in 2010 mark the third time the duo have garnered All-NEC recognition.

Earning his first All-NEC honor is the 6'3", 190-pound Sinclair. Since being inserted as the starter under center midway through the 2009 campaign, Sinclair has posted a record of 13-4 (.765). On the 2010 campaign he has completed 51.1 percent (119-for-233) of his passes for 1,774 yards and 22 touchdowns against just nine interceptions. Sinclair tied the Robert Morris single-season school record for touchdown passes by throwing for a pair in RMU's regular-season finale at Bryant (11/13), tying the mark originally established by Levcik in 2001.

Sinclair has also rushed for 148 yards and five touchdowns in 2010 and on his career has scored eight touchdowns, the most by an RMU quarterback in school history.

One of the anchors of an RMU offensive line that allowed Russ to become the first Colonial in school history to post three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons, the 6'5", 315-pound Konycki will make his 41st career start Saturday at North Dakota State. That will tie a school record that is held by former Colonial Clifton Jean-Jacques (2002-05), who is coincidentally the last offensive lineman at Robert Morris to earn All-NEC honors when he was named to the 2004 All-NEC Second Team.

The 6'3", 225-pound King leads Robert Morris in 2010 in receptions (38) and touchdown catches (7) while ranking second in receiving yards (464). In just his third season with the Colonials he ranks fourth all-time for career receptions (89) and third in career touchdown catches (16).

Landers, 6'1" and 210 pounds, ranks third for the Colonials so far this season in tackles with 62 and over the last four years has compiled 271 career stops, the most by a defensive back in school history and a total that ranks sixth all-time at Robert Morris. He also is tied for the NEC lead in interceptions this season with five and on his career has recorded 12 picks, which ranks fourth all-time at RMU.

Landers takes home All-NEC First Team honors for the second time, having been named to the 2008 All-NEC First Team while earning second team accolades in 2009.

The 6'0", 210-pound Navarro earns his first All-NEC honor in 2010 and ranks second for the Colonials so far this season with 69 tackles. He leads the squad in tackles for loss (13.5), including three and-a-half sacks, and has also recorded five quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles. Navarro enters Saturday's game against the Bison with 183 career stops, including 25 tackles for loss.

Just the third player in program history to be named an ESPN Academic All-American earlier this week by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), Nearhoof earns his first career All-NEC honor. The 6'2", 280-pound sophomore leads Robert Morris this season in sacks (5.5) and quarterback hurries (6) while posting 44 tackles, including 13 solo stops.

After earning All-NEC Second Team honors in both 2007 and 2009, Schirtzinger is named to the All-NEC First Team for the first time in 2010. He leads the NEC in punting with an average of 41.4 yards per punt, compiling 1,946 yards so far this season on 47 punts.

RMU's all-time leader in career punts (224), punting yards (9,063) and career yards per punt (40.5), the 5'8", 250-pound Schirtzinger owns 10 punts of at least 50 yards so far this season while pinning 16 inside the 20-yard line of RMU opponents.

Andrade and Miles join Konycki with All-NEC accolades in 2010, marking the fourth time a trio of Colonials on the offensive line have earned postseason honors in the same year.

Andrade, 6'5" and 290 pounds, will join Konycki in making his 41st career start on the offensive line Saturday at North Dakota State to tie the school record of Jean-Jacques, while in his first year as a starter at center the 6'3", 295-pound Miles has directed an offense that ranks second in the NEC in rushing offense (186.0 ypg) and fourth in total offense (363.4 ypg).

Konycki and Andrade have also each started 34 straight games on the offensive line for Robert Morris, the third longest streak in school history.

Named to the All-NEC Second Team for the second straight year is the 5'10", 175-pound Bathold, who has tallied 45 tackles so far this season, including 37 solo stops. He has also recorded a pair of interceptions and is tied for the team lead in passes defended with five. Over the last four seasons, Bathold owns 150 career takedowns and eight interceptions.

Led by Walton, Robert Morris has posted an overall record of 8-2 this season, including a mark of 7-1 in the Northeast Conference. The Colonials shared the 2010 NEC regular-season championship with Central Connecticut State but earned the league's inaugural bid to the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs thanks to a 42-24 victory over the Blue Devils in the head-to-head matchup at Joe Walton Stadium (11/6).

RMU will travel to Fargo, N.D., to play No. 25 North Dakota State in the preliminary round of the FCS playoffs Saturday, Nov. 27. Kickoff at the Fargodome is 7:00 p.m.

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